A number of world-class restaurants have opened in HK over the last few months, thanks to a roaring economy and booming stock market. I finally paid some of these a visit and thought I'd give a quick review...
Nobu has been a big name in fusion Japanese for over a decade. However his creations have never quite caught my fancy. My limited experience at Nobu Next Door in NYC years ago wasn't quite what I thought it would be, so my expectations weren't high going to the new Nobu at the InterContinental in HK.
Nobu took over the space formerly occupied by Yu, and it's a pretty large area. There is a bar/lounge area as you come in, and the whole decor is pretty modern. Most of the seating at the restaurant (other than the sushi bar) gets you a fantastic view of Victoria Harbor. The staff/customer ratio is pretty high and there are lots of people dressed in black running around.
We chose to sit at the sushi bar and watch them prepare the food.
We chose the omakase for $888 (chuckle, chuckle...) to see what they have in store. What followed was a 5-6 course meal which was reasonably good. As you would expect it wasn't very traditionally Japanese, what with lots of salads/greens and intresting jalapeno sauces. The ingredients were very fresh and delicious, although the soy sauce made the beef a bit salty.
The dessert was simply divine - layers of cappuccino ice cream / coffee cake / ground coffee beans / meringue all topped with Suntory whiskey foam... I'd go back just for that.
But at the end of the day, this still isn't my cup of macha. If I wanted Japanese, I'd probably still end up at Imamura where I'd get the freshest live botan ebi and nama toro.
I finally decided to give Pierre a try after a few months. I must say that, other than the special menus tailored for some wine tastings, this is probably one of the best meals I've had in HK. Once again I went for the degustation menu to see what the chef can deliver. Almost every course was very delicious, with the best ingredients.
One curious observation was the the unusual taste of "bitterness" (as opposed to sweet, sour...etc) featured prominently during the meal. Quite a few courses had elements which were slightly bitter, although they actually enhanced the overall experience.
The beetroot/celeriac starter was very interesting, and the scallops were sweet and tender. The sweetbread was unusual but nice and creamy, and the lamb loin was a bit more "lammy" than usual but I loved it. And they do have a lovely selection of cheese.
What followed was dessert, which was listed on the menu was "Les desserts de Pierre Gagnaire". This was deceiving because what followed was FOUR desserts. We started with an unusual set of petit fours, and ended with a rich chocolate/hazelnut combination.
Unfortunately this was a bit too much for me, and I felt a little unwell at the end of the meal.
Having said that I think this is still a wonderful meal, and I look forward to returning for many meals in the future.